Yes, he's a virtuoso on fiddle, guitar (acoustic and electric) and mandolin, and he has played with such bluegrass legends as Bull Harmon, Benny Martin and Vince Gill. But it's his voice, a tenor of exacting clarity and startling range, that confirms Thayne Bradford's indispensable place on the St. Louis roots scene. While most bluegrass-steeped singers are content to remain in that genre alone, Bradford can handle honky-tonk, Cajun, rockabilly, gospel and rock & roll with the same unnerving authority and energy. When his various bands -- the Lonesome Pines, the Orbits and the Ridgerunners -- get to harmonizing, it's Bradford who sears and seals the soul of the frequencies. He doesn't just complement other voices; he urges them toward transcendence. And his lead vocal on Norman Blake's classic "Orphan Annie," recorded with the Lonesome Pines, is definitive in its warm tone and glowing character.
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